Melody Ann Henderson, 71, of Du Quoin, passed away at 4:03 a.m. on Thursday, July 15, 2021 at her residence in Du Quoin.
She was a Du Quoin High School graduate with the class of 1968 and attended Southern Illinois University. Melody worked at her family-owned restaurant, B.J.'s Garden Inn, for 30 years.
She was born Jan. 6, 1950 at Du Quoin, Illinois, the daughter of Carl Wallace and Betty Jane (Morgan) Leek.
Melody loved her beloved "Brian Frank" so much that the thought of him leaving this Earth before her was unbearable. They were two peas in a pod; where there was one, you found the other. Melody was famous for being late to everything but when it came to being back with Brian, she wasted no time.
Melody enjoyed reading and diligently researched everything there was to know about building a cordwood home. Together, Melody and Brian constructed their dream home from the foundation to the roof. Melody used a draw knife to strip the bark off of every log that she would later place perfectly to form the walls of the home where her children and grandchildren would come to gather.
Melody was a green thumb. She could grow anything, as is evidenced by the philodendron given to the family in the mid-80s which still sits on her kitchen table. She enjoyed outdoor organic gardening and was known for her flowers, berries and the largest cluster of wisteria you could imagine. She always dreamt of owning a florist shop/greenhouse and she enjoyed many trips to Bullock's Nursery.
Melody could tell a good story and had an infectious laugh; some might say that her wit was even quicker than Brian's. Melody had fond memories of growing up in Hallidayboro and talked often about the church choir and plays, the best blackberries, Johnny Beard's and the infamous apple picking trip.
Melody was also an advocate for veterans, especially for her Marine; supporting him in every outreach he was involved in, standing beside him and organizing events with him. Melody and Brian loved to dance together; gliding across the floor in perfect unison.
Melody was dedicated to working alongside her mother, Betty, in many different restaurants and stayed with her at B.J.'s for over 30 years. In Melody's opinion, no one's cooking could measure up to her mom's and you often heard about it.
She enjoyed hosting Christmas gatherings and was known for the most beautiful live Christmas trees, which had a different theme each year with handmade decorations. She loved hosting and presenting the perfect Christmas meal and you can bet that if you brought a guest unexpectedly, she would welcome them with open arms and then scurry off to find a gift that she could wrap up so they weren't left out. She always took care of anyone who entered her home and you would only see her eating a meal after everyone had been taken care of.
In the recent years as Melody's health declined, she remained a homemaker with the love of her life and enjoyed watching The Hallmark Channel and visiting with family and friends.
Melody married Brian Frank Henderson on July 24, 1971 in North Carolina, and he preceded her in death on July 10, 2021.
She is survived by four children, Brian Douglas "Doug" Henderson Comte and wife Denise of Tamaroa, Toni Harper and husband David of Du Quoin, Tracy Schubert and husband Carl of Du Quoin, and Thomas Henderson and wife Ashley of Du Quoin; a bonus child, Paul McHargue of Herrin; 10 grandchildren, Ambra, Shaad, Morgan, Hayden, Chelsea, Macey, Dylan, Carlie, Presley and Cash; six great-grandchildren; three sisters, Randy Lee Leek, Carla Terry and Wallie Leek, all of Du Quoin; and one brother, Kent Leek of Du Quoin.
Melody was preceded in death by her parents and husband.
Per Melody's request, cremation rites were accorded. There will be no public visitation or funeral.
There will be a Celebration of Life Service for Melody and Brian at the Du Quoin VFW Post 513, Saturday, July 31, 2021 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Friends are invited to make memorials to the American Cancer Society, which will be accepted at the funeral home.
Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin is in charge of arrangements.
For additional information or to sign the memorial guest register, visit www.searbyfuneralhomes.com.